Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Dog Dub

If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life. ~Roger Caras 

I lost my dog, Dub, last year before Christmas. He was a very good dog. A chocolate lab registered by his first owners as Coffee W. Crutcher. Those owners got more dog than they bargained for with a lab puppy and he soon found himself chained to a dog house in their yard. Enter my friend, Carolyn. A dog lover like me. A very tender-hearted dog lover. She sees the lab and imagines his life of confinement and offers to take the dog from the owners. They agreed and Coffee W. Crutcher began the next chapter of his life.

Carolyn took him to the vet, did all the necessary things to keep him healthy, loved him, but she lived in town and had a small, unfenced yard. He had too much dog energy for that small space. Enter my wide open farm and the fact that I was down to only one dog. So it was great timing. Coffee W. Crutcher came to live with us here on the farm along with his registration papers, his dog house, his dog dish and his extra heavy duty dog chain and leash. 

So, Coffee W. Crutcher began another new chapter in his life and found a permanent home. He was a dog with energy. The first time I tried to take him for a walk on his leash, just as a training exercise, I ended up being dragged through a briar patch. Next walk we used a choke collar. He was a strong dog and just a little hard-headed. So much so that yelling Coffee didn't penetrate his ears. He didn't even so much as turn his head to see if there was any possibility I might mean him. Crutcher didn't work either, but Dub - short for W - that he could hear.  So this beautiful chocolate lab with the very distinctive name became my dog, Dub. 

Well, as much as he ever became anybody's dog. He was always an independent soul. He liked me. Walked with me every day. At times he'd sit down and patiently wait for me as he's doing in the picture above. He liked going swimming and rarely passed up the opportunity to take a dip in a pond or creek or plop down in a mud puddle. He was a retriever who would not fetch. If I threw a stick or ball, he'd just look at me as if to say, you threw it; you go get it. He had a good appetite. Ate his dog food and supplemented his calorie intake by killing the occasional unlucky rabbit or squirrel. Once some wild ducks hatched out around our pond. Dub waited until the ducks were about half grown before he swam out and "retrieved" one of them as a tasty snack. Then he went out and got the others, one by one. Not a good place for ducks on Dub's pond.  

Other dogs loved him. My yard became the gathering place for all the neighbor dogs. They came to lay beside Dub. Or on top Dub. They loved Dub. He'd been to the vet to be neutered before he came to live here on the farm, but the surgery must not have been a complete success. He didn't go chasing after the female dogs, but they came to our yard after him. When that happened, he couldn't resist the siren call. I put him up when I knew what was happening, but sometimes he was gone before I knew the girls had come after him. I never knew for sure if any of the pups were his because there were other male dogs around, but one time when there was an American Staffordshire in the neighborhood, I was pretty sure that the one pup she had was Dub's. She wouldn't entertain attentions from any of the other dogs. Another time he went off with a different neighborhood flirt and ended up several miles from home next to a parkway where somebody stopped, gathered him up and turned him in to the humane shelter. It was a holiday weekend and I didn't figure out he was gone until too late to call. He spent the weekend in doggie jail before I could find out they had him and bail him out on Monday. He was happy to be my dog that morning. 

So many stories I could tell about Dub. How he developed an allergy and was tormented by itching in the spring and fall until we had to give him steroids. How he liked to go sleep on the neighbor's porch furniture. How every bed I bought him he slept on for a few days and then attacked like it was a wild animal and spread filling all over the yard. How when he was beginning to get old and tired, he'd go to the middle of the field where he could watch me walking to lie down and wait for me to come back around. How he had to wear one of those collars after he had surgery on his ear. How if he thought he was going to the vet, he just came to the car and climbed right in. Never tried to get in the car any other time. How he was a very good dog. 

In December, he got very sick. I knew he was dying and went out to the garage to check on him on a morning in December thinking I'd have to take him to the vet for that final trip. He wasn't there. He wasn't anywhere. I walked miles on the farm looking for him in every fence row, under every cedar bush, and under buildings and everywhere I could think of. He wasn't anywhere. I was about to decide he'd walked on up to heaven, but then a few days later, the neighbor came over to report he'd found him next to his pond. I should have walked his field instead of mine. So now Dub's buried out by the gate we passed through so often on our walks. You want to outlive your dogs because dogs are only here a short time. But at the same time you remember every one them. Good dogs all. And Dub was a good dog who had a good life here on the farm. 
Have you known some good dogs in your life?

A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, big or small, young or old. He doesn't care if you're not smart, not popular, not a good joke-teller, not the best athlete, nor the best-looking person. To your dog, you are the greatest, the smartest, the nicest human being who was ever born. You are his friend and protector.  ~ Louis Saban

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  1. I have had 3 very good dogs. When the last one died, I decided I didn't want any more dogs. Now I have cats. I love them too although they don't really care what you think. They are funny and they suit me in my old age. I don't want to be bothered myself.I remember the dogs that wanted to please me all the time and now have cats that want me to wait on them. Life is good.

  2. Hi, Ann! Dub was surely a wonderful dog : )

    I once went to a yard sale and didn’t buy anything, but I found one of the greatest treasures of my life. The lady holding the sale had found an adorable little black dog which she couldn’t keep, and she said she would have to find him a home or take him to the animal shelter. He was so bright-eyed, cute, and friendly, and he followed me all over her yard. I already had other dogs, but several days later, I went back and got him. He was a little mixed mini-dachshund, and I named him “Max”. He lived to be almost 20 years old. He was the light of my life. He never thought small–he thought he was a Rottweiler! As a matter of fact, one of his many, many nicknames was “Baby Rottweiler” : ) He had a “radar ear” which seemed to rotate in many directions. He communicated his feelings with that ear! He was a “go” dog. I have an old Chevy Blazer, and I kept the back seat folded down and built up a platform bed so that Max could reach the window and hang his head out, “ears to the wind”. Mom and I had five dogs at one time, and they were all rescue and abuse cases. We took those dogs almost everywhere we went. We logged a lot of miles together. I live in the beautiful mountains of Central Southwest Virginia, close to the West Virginia border. Mom and I always had limited funds, so we had a 60 mile driving radius, but there was always something of interest. Those were golden days!

  3. What a sweet story Ann. Makes me think of pets we have loved and lost. One was a small red pup who grew up to be a big red dog and a calico cat who ended up being nicknamed Kitty Boo. They shared our home and our hearts in KY. They remain buried there, but will be in our hearts wherever we go. :)

  4. From one animal lover to another Ann i can understand, and im very sorry for losing one of your family members. I never think of them as animals but as loved ones who are part of the family. Richard

  5. Ann, first of all, I am very sorry for your loss and only dog lovers would understand my saying this. I have loved and lost many dogs and each one has been painful. Perhaps the one that stands out the most is MY dog, Buddy and he truly was MY dog. He was so protective, he would even snap at my husband if he questioned his motives. Now, I never wanted a mean dog but it was reassuring to know that he was there for me.
    Buddy was one of 2 puppies from Bridget's first litter and was part Australian Shepherd and part Blue Heeler so that probably explains his "mean streak". Buddy
    had parvo when he was about a month old. He almost died and I guess my love and care was something he remembered and made him love him truly MY dog.

    Buddy died at our back door one day while I was at work. I think he sensed his time was fleeting and he wanted to be close. I was always glad that he hadn't wondered off and I couldn't have found him.

    His mother, Bridget died about two weeks after my father's passing and we haven't had a dog since then. I miss having "a best friend" and hope to one day have another dog who will love me unconditionally.

  6. I can understand your feelings, Anonymous, but I'm glad you had the 3 very good dogs. But cats can be fun too even if the saying that dogs have owners and cats have staff is sometimes only too true. So glad life is good for you.

  7. What a great story, Virginia. Those rescued dogs can make the best pets. The one I have now was rescued after somebody dropped him and he's a wonderful dog. My daughter and son-in-law have one of those dachshunds that thinks he's the big dog on the block too. Thanks for sharing about yours.

  8. Thanks, Staci. Glad you enjoyed reading about Dub. Sounds like you might have some stories to tell out your "big red dog" and Kittyboo. Pets can keep up smiling at times and warm our hearts too.

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  10. Thanks, Richard. My pets are like part of the family which is why I have a hard time understanding others who just desert them on the side of a road. I can understand that sometimes situations make owning a pet difficult, but at least try to find them a new home.

  11. Thanks for sharing your story about Buddy, Connie. I usually have more than one dog out here on the farm, but always one of them tends to be "my" dog. So I know what you mean when you say that. There's just some connection that's hard to explain. But sounds like your Buddy had your back. Hope you find another "my dog" someday.


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